My Material Life

Print & Sew Wildlife Ornaments

mml wildlife ornaments

I brought these to my sister’s house on Thanksgiving. They were inspired by pink deer and green squirrel ornaments I picked up at Target earlier this month that reminded me of this fun project …

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I knew I had to create my own and add a luxe touch or two because that’s important this time of year.

First I searched online for images of various animals on a white background. When I found an image I liked, I dragged it to my desktop, opened it in my camera’s photo editing software and turned the saturation down and the sharpness up. When I was satisfied with my images I printed them using an inkjet printer and printable fabric sheets. Then I followed the directions that came with my fabric sheets to heat set the images.

Next I gathered other materials needed to complete the ornaments: hangers (string saved from recent Target t-shirt purchases), fabric backing ( a champagne-colored silk dupioni for the backs of the raccoon and goose and linen for the buck), wool felt for tags, fiberfill, and crystal embellishments and embroidery floss to decorate the tags.

mml buck tag

See the tag on the deer above? That’s a great idea I found in a lovely book called Scandinavian Needlecraft by Clare Youngs (2010). There are some great ideas in this book, but the one that stays with me are her felt tags. This one is a long rectangle of felt that I embroidered on one end, folded in half cross-wise, and then machine stitched along each long edge.

mml goose tag

For the goose and raccoon I used a single thickness of cut felt and glued on a crystal embellishment from the Swarovski Elements line at Michaels. I can’t tell you how much I love that I can go to Michaels and buy real Swarovski crystals from Austria to add that special touch of bling/sparkle/magic to a little project like this. It makes me feel like life is good and the best things really are attainable. Isn’t that funny? All that from a trip to Michaels? Simple pleasures really are the best.

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To create a cutting line I placed my fabric backing and printed animal fabric right sides together and drew a shape around the animal that would allow for a 1/4″ or so seam allowance. Then I cut both pieces out at the same time.

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Next I sandwiched the hanger cords and felt tags between the right sides of the ornament fronts and backs and stitched the ornaments together, leaving an opening at the bottom of each for turning and stuffing. It’s a good idea to stitch over the hanging cords a second time for extra security.

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After clipping corners and curves I turned the ornaments right side out, stuffed them and slip stitched the openings closed. A simple way to make ornaments and so many types of images to choose from. My sister loves Lake Tahoe so I chose animals from that region. What would you print?

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